Having a child graduate from high school is definitely up there among bittersweet parenting moments. There’s pride and happiness mixed in with other emotions that induce a lump in the throat. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when this young adult lay in your arms, swaddled in a hospital receiving blanket. ‘Where have the years gone?’ is a truism that always rings true for parents of high school seniors. You can replay many past moments in your head but it’s harder to put your finger on those transitions – when the tiny newborn became a chatty preschooler and then a spunky tween…and so on.
Luckily, the memories are there – captured in photos, mementos and school projects that most people stash away in shoeboxes and folders. Now is a great time to pull out and sort through these to make a beautiful memory book for the new graduate.
Here are four theme ideas to inspire you with this project:
It happened in grade school…: If you have been holding on to a lot of your child’s elementary school output for sentimental reasons, now you can feel happy that you did. Gather those Van Gogh recreations, creative prompt essays and book reports, and organize them by year or grade. Digitize the best of the artwork and writing and you’ll soon have enough material for a vivid school years photo book. Include school portraits from over the years, as well as snapshots from field trips, back to school nights and more. Throw in some catchy titles and fitting captions and gift your college bound graduate a trip back in time – to the fun and innocence of those early school years.
Life’s moments: The first time he flashed a smile as an infant (was it actually gas?), a romp in the park on a sunny afternoon, that winning soccer goal, middle school dances, sibling bonding…there are tons of unforgettable memories packed into those eighteen years. A photo book that captures and lays them out in a timeline-based sequence is a beautiful keepsake to be treasured forever. Digitize photos you want to include in the book and intersperse them with images of any special mementos you have preserved – ticket stubs of memorable shows, first haircut certificates and more.
Messages from friends and family: Think of all the important people in her life and others who have touched it in some way. This, of course, means parents but could also include grandparents, a best friend, an influential grade school teacher, a longtime pediatrician…. Create an album of messages, punctuated with pictures, from as many of these individuals as you can reach. Ask them to go beyond the standard note for advice and messages that are inspiring, thought-provoking or funny. The results will be special and worth lingering over.
Countdown to College: High school marks one of the most important formative phases in a young life – a time for growth, learning and several lasting friendships. You can create a lively chronicle of your graduate’s high school experience using pictures from that period. If you have access to his or her timeline, social media is a good place to trawl for photos of study hangouts, after school clubs, socials, prom night and more. Your graduate will appreciate having the best of high school compiled in one compact album.
A memory book project is great motivation for organizing a scattered set of photos and memories. Not to mention the fact that it also makes a terrific gift for the newly minted graduate in the family. One that says: “We love you! But we’ll let you fly.”